MATSUMOTO, Japan (Aug. 26, 2015) – The U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB, converted 58.8 percent of its attacks had totaled 13 blocks in blanking Peru 25-17, 25-15, 25-12 on Wednesday afternoon in Matsumoto, Japan, to improve to 3-1 in the FIVB World Cup and remain one match behind tournament-leader Russia.
Team USA faces Algeria on Aug. 27 at 12:10 p.m. local time (11:10 p.m. ET on Aug. 26) to conclude the first stage of the World Cup in Matsumoto. After two off days, the Americans resume play in Okayama against Kenya on Aug. 30, Argentina on Aug. 31 and Cuba on Sept. 1. Team USA concludes the World Cup in Nagoya with matches against Russia on Sept. 4, Japan on Sept. 5 and Dominican Republic on Sept. 6.
"We are trying to get better every day in this tournament and in terms of service pressure, we did that today," U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. "Our start was not so strong, but we finished much stronger. I liked our team effort and liked the fact that we got better at the service line."
Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.) paced the U.S. with 14 points, including nine kills on 11 attacks with just one error to go with four blocks and an ace. She was selected as the match’s most impressive player. Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) added 12 points via eight kills on 16 swings, two blocks and two aces.
“I think we played really well as a team,” Dixon said. “We’ve been working on improving our game. I think we’re getting better as a team and we proved that today. It was a good team effort. As a middle, you need a good pass and a good setter to give you the ball, so I think whenever a middle gets an MVP, it’s a true test of what the team did and I think we did really well all together.”
Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) chimed in with 11 points with eight kills on 13 attacks and three blocks. Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill.) charted 11 points with nine kills on 14 swings and two aces. Megan Easy (Durham, N.C.) posted six points with five kills on 12 errorless attacks and an ace.
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Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) and Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) shared the setting duties and each scored two points. Kreklow, with the bulk of the setting duties, turned in 26 running sets on 42 chances and Glass added 10 running sets on 17 total set attempts. The pair directed the Team USA offense to a .500 hitting efficiency (40-6-68).
Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.), playing in her first-ever FIVB competition, got the start at libero and provided six excellent receptions on as many attempts to go with six digs. Robinson led the American back-row defense with eight digs to go with seven excellent receptions on 11 chances. Easy added seven excellent receptions on 20 chances.
"It felt great," Hagglund said of her first FIVB start. "This is like my dream come true being able to play with these kinds of players and play against players who are incredible. I am really happy to be here and working my hardest to get better and make my teammates better."
Even with a lineup with several new starters hitting the floor versus the first three matches of the World Cup, Hagglund felt there was not a drop off in performance.
"I think we were stoked to get out there and just play," Hagglund said. "There are a lot of amazing players on this lineup, like Megan. Everyone is amazing. I think we were just happy to be out there and playing during such a big tournament. I don't think there was drop-off. Definitely there is a difference in playing style obviously. I had a blast with these ladies and I think everyone did a great job."
Team USA held a 13-3 margin in blocks and managed a slim 5-3 margin in aces. The American defense held Peru to a 25.6 kill percent and a .023 hitting efficiency (22-2-86).
Peru was led by Katherine Olemar’s seven points, while Katherine Regalado added six points.
Dixon broke a 1-all tie in the first set with a kill then followed with consecutive blocks to push the Americans in front 4-1. Fawcett hammered a kill after a Peru ace to place Team USA in front 16-12 at the first technical timeout. Robinson and Gibbemeyer added to the lead out of the break with a kill and block at 18-12. Fawcett tipped over the Peru block and Easy hammered a cross-court winner after a Peruvian attack error to jump the American lead to 22-14. Peru chipped two points off the deficit with an ace after a kill at 22-16. Dixon and Easy answered with back-to-back kills to give Team USA set points at 24-16. Fawcett crushed the winner at 25-17. Dixon ended the set with six points and the Americans had four blocks to offset Peru’s two aces.
Easy and Dixon converted back-to-back attacks to lift the U.S. in front 3-1 early in the second set. Robinson nailed consecutive points and Dixon put up a block to extend the U.S. margin to 8-3. Out of the break, Fawcett put up another block to move Team USA in front 9-3 on a 4-0 scoring run. Fawcett scored a kill and ace to force Peru to call timeout trailing 12-5. Out of the break Gibbemeyer won a joust at the net and added a block to inch the USA advantage to 14-5. Gibbemeyer scored two kills going into the second technical timeout at 16-7 after Peru had scored back-to-back points. Dixon served an ace and Fawcett put up a block to put the Americans in set points at 24-14. Robinson finished the set at 25-15 after Peru saved one set point.
After Peru tied the third set at 4-all, USA went on a 9-1 scoring run at 13-5 that included two Fawcett aces and two Gibbemeyer kills. Glass dumped a kill over for a 16-11 lead at the second technical timeout after Peru fought back into the set. Kreklow served an ace after a Peru error to push the U.S. in front 20-11. USA did not let off the gas pedal as Easy scored an ace at 24-12 and Robinson put down the final point with a block at 25-12.
All Team USA contests at the World Cup, can be watched live online at universalsports.com/Olympics as well as on a tape-delay basis on its Universal Sports television.
U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Roster for FIVB World Cup
# - Name (Position, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 – Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State University)
2 – Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, St. Paul, Minn., University of Minnesota)
10 – Jordan Larson-Burbach (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., University of Nebraska)
11 – Megan Easy (OH, 6-3, Durham, N.C., Penn State University)
13 – Christa Dietzen (MB, 6-2, Hopewell Township, Pa., Penn State University)
14 – Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State University)
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine University)
16 – Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford University)
17 – Natalie Hagglund (L, 5-9, Encinitas, Calif., University of Southern California)
18 – Molly Kreklow (S, 5-9, Delano, Minn., University of Missouri)
21 – Tori Dixon (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., University of Minnesota)
23 – Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Bartlett, Ill., University of Nebraska)
25 – Karsta Lowe (OPP, 6-4, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., UCLA)
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Jamie Morrison and Tom Black
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Team Manager: Denise Sheldon
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek
Team Doctors: Dr. William Briner, Jr. and Dr. Andrew Gregory
Consultant Coaches: Marv Dunphy and David Hunt
2015 FIVB World Cup Schedule (Local Time/ET Time – Television Time on Universal)
Aug. 22: USA def. Korea 25-15, 25-22, 25-15
Aug. 23: Serbia def. USA 25-20, 22-25, 18-25, 25-19, 15-6
Aug. 24: USA def. China 25-23, 25-17, 25-23
Aug. 26: USA def. Peru 25-17, 25-15, 25-12
Aug. 27: USA vs. Algeria (12:10 p.m./11:10 p.m. on Aug. 26 – 2 p.m.) (at Matsumoto)
Aug. 30: USA vs. Kenya (3:10 p.m./2:10 a.m. – 6 a.m.) (at Okayama)
Aug. 31: USA vs. Argentina (3:10 p.m./2:10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) (at Okayama)
Sept. 1: USA vs. Cuba (6:40 p.m./5:40 a.m. – 5 p.m.) (at Okayama)
Sept. 4: USA vs. Russia (3:10 p.m./2:10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.) (at Nagoya)
Sept. 5: USA vs. Japan (7:20 p.m./6:20 a.m. – 6 p.m.) (at Nagoya)
Sept. 6: USA vs. Dominican Republic (3:10 p.m./2:10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) (at Nagoya)